Thursday, July 30, 2015

Singing Pigs, Street Food, and Cats

Decided to be a bit lazier today and explore the area around my apartment.  Figured it would be fun to make a quick blog post and put some of the pictures up on here.  Enjoy!  

An awesome cat was just chilling by one of the street vendors today.  I love how there are so many cats just cruising around the stalls.  They each seem to have a turf and just laze around taking handouts.  Talk about living the life!

I love the massive amount of fresh fruit that you can buy for a very very reasonable price.  Just took a few random pictures of the street stalls about a minute walk from the apartment.

Lunch today consisted of watermelon and some papaya.  This and the Coca-Cola cost me about $1.40.  Granted, the fruit was a bit too much, and I did not finish the coke, but hey, why not just go for broke sometimes, right?

Found this pigeon hiding on my balcony behind my clothes rack.  He is terrifying.  If you are able to, zoom in on him, he looks something like scar-face.  If he comes back, I am going to give him that part of the balcony.  I ran from him and have not been back out on the balcony since this afternoon.  He was that terrifying.  

I have absolutely no clue what this is all about.  Just going to let the picture speak for itself.

Dinner - Awesome chicken stirred in with some very spicy sauce, a coke, and some orange juice.  

A bit of the street near my house with all the vendors.  I would have to guess that the vending area is about a quarter mile long and has two rows.  The air is very rich with the smell of cooking, and during the lunch time area, the heat coming off the stoves and burners is almost oppressive.  The food is amazing though. 

Finished the night off with some delicious ice cream.  I had some blueberry and strawberry.  I think I will have to work up to trying the wasabi and shrimp eggs.  I will be sure to update this when I find out how that tastes...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Almost one full day in Thailand

Well, I have been incredibly lucky to have the help of some awesome friends who surprised me with setting up most of my apartment before I even got to Thailand.  After a few hours of sleep, I woke up, and went with Eddie and Eric to Bangkok.  This is about 20 miles from where I am living, so it would not seem like it is a far drive... damn.  

Eddie is an amazing driver.  He has the most cat-like reflexes and must have eyes in the back of his head.  I have never in my entire life seen traffic like what exists in Bangkok.  There are highways that have eight lanes and drivers going almost any direction at any time.  While the main flow of traffic is creating new lanes going in a particular direction, there is cross traffic trying to go across this main flow.  The main flow is crazy enough.  For four lanes of traffic, there might be six to seven "lanes" that are created.  This is then coupled with the fact that there are motorcycles and people who want to change lanes or cut across the highway completely.  I will try and video it next time, it is insane.

Eddie reminds me of the Stig from Top Gear.  Yes, he is that good. 

Take a moment of silence to honor Eddie/Stig.

So, My new place has a pretty nice view.  We are up on the seventh floor, with a nice little balcony and a big wrap-around window.  I have no clue how panoramic photos will turn out, but let's find out:

It is one of the taller buildings in the area, so even thought there is a lot of foot and street traffic in the area, it is pretty quiet.  I love the fact that it also feels like it is above the skyline of Salaya.  To me, that makes it a great little escape from the clamor of the vendors in the street.  

So, the trip to Bangkok was great, got to experience my first Ikea.  

Ikea is pretty amazing.  It has everything, and it has one of the best systems I have ever seen to make sure that you walk out of there a few hundred dollars lighter.  There is no way to traverse the store without seeing and having a chance to purchase every single freaking item that you might ever need.  If it goes in your home, Ikea has it.

I will have more time later, and energy to actually explore Bangkok over the next while, so today was more of a surgical strike to stock my apartment.  Besides a few hangers and some other odds and ends that were forgotten, I think I am ready.

On the way out of Bangkok, I spied this beauty.  I have no clue what it is, only found the wikipedia page a few minutes ago, but hey, three headed elephant!  Why not?

Also, it took me all of about 30 minutes this morning to blow my first circuit breaker.  

Thailand operates at 220 volts, the US operates at 110.  Do the math...

Apparently one should not buy the cheaper electrical adapter.

Thankfully nothing lit on fire and I was able to find the circuit breaker box.  

Thailand Electricity: 1
XBox Power Supply: 0

I was able to find a new one that runs on 220 volts though, so hopefully I have fully learned my lesson... 

Dinner consisted of spending two whole dollars for an amazing salad and some fried chicken with onions.  Yeah, two whole dollars.  I felt like treating myself...

Also, each slice of what I am going to assume are some of the most amazing cake slices in the world are about a dollar.  

Not a bad day.  A bit of a lightning and rainstorm right now, but seems like pretty good weather to fall asleep to.  Granted it is still 90-something degrees outside and high humidity, but that is why air conditioning was invented.  

26 Hours of Flying - Part 2

After landing in Narita, I decided the first thing that I needed to do to kill some time was to find some ramen, and find it fast.  After going through some of the most lackadaisical security and customs that I have ever seen I found myself staring at this beauty.

Yes, it is as delicious as it looks.  Of course, it needed to be washed down with some delicious Calpis.  I had some trouble finding it, but after a bit of searching, I found it.  Awesome!!!

So, now, just sitting here, taking up a bit of time before I go and find a snack and board the next plane in a few hours.  Had a great lunch with some random travelers, heard about their trip to the Phillipines, posed for a few photos with them, and watched them eat ramen with forks... 

I also just heard a boarding announcement for Vladivostok, thank heaven I am not on that flight...

Total Time: 15:30 

We are about to board, only about 8 more hours.  Thank heaven, almost there.  Win!

Total Time: 18:00
Plus one more restroom bath.  Yeah, Apparently Narita Airport does not spend any money on air conditioning.  I did score a bunch of the awesome Japanese Kit Kats.  That at least is an awesome win.

I decided to treat myself with Hokkaido Red Bean, Bitter (which I assume is dark chocolate), and Green Tea.  Yum.  Hopefully it is a good as it sounds.  I think I will have those at some point during the flight to Bangkok.  May as well get all jacked up on chocolate!  

I also had to grab the alpaca nano blocks for kiki and some awesome sushi magnets for the new fridge.  

Oh, and of course I grabbed a second Calpis.  Anything that sounds that bad must be good.  Calpis, cow piss... yeah, nevermind, I am tired...

Off to the boarding.  

Thankfully the long flight was not too bad, and it was on one of the new 787s, which are pretty nice. 

Finally made it to my new place, which was all set up for me by a few great friends. I thought I was going to be landing and then sleeping on the couch at a friends place, but they surprised me with taking me to our new apartment. Thanks you guys. 

This is how I smile after I have been up for close to 30 hours: 

I look fantastic!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

26 hours of flying - Part 1

First leg of the day. Woke up at 4:55am Hawaii Time. Current time into travel, 1:25.

Feels fitting that my last day in Hilo was much like my first, rainy.

Coffee number two of the day, current travel time 3:30.

Note to self - no more coffee... Don't want to be the sweaty guy who needs to pee a lot on the flight.

Time to try and get my ticket from JAL because their automated system is a nightmare. Also, it seems like my bags might be checked all the way through to Bangkok. Quite impressed with how this might happen, not impressed with how rude the Hawaiian Airlines desk person was when I was confused about if I would need to take them through customs in Japan. Hopefully I have bags tonight... 

Ticketed and confirmed all the way through Bangkok. The flight from Honolulu to Tokyo might have wifi, and it seems like the plane is going to be nearly empty. Sweet. 

Also, got confirmation that my bags are going to be making this flight. Not bad so far... 

Total time: 4:30
Total caffeinated beverages: 2
Total restroom sink baths: 1

Awesome, no neighbor on this flight. 8 hours until I get to Narita airport. Looks like it won't be too bad though, as there seems to be wifi (not sure how to access it yet), some form of a USB plug so I can charge my electronics, and a tv tablet of sorts. 24 bucks for 8 hours of wifi? Might be worth it... Depends on how bored I get. 

Not a bad set up... Time for take off! 

Well, only 7:40 to go until leg 2 of the trip is done. I am already a bit tired and I still have well over 20 hours of travel to go... Oh well... Long day(s) ahead of me. 

Total time 5:30

Yes, the house red should compliment this meal quite well, hahaha.

Honestly, it is not a bad merlot. I am actually quite impressed so far.

Time to settle in to lunch! 

You are looking at beef curry, miso soup, salad, somen salad, potato salad, salmon sashimi, merlot, and water. They also came around with lychee ice cream. Talk about a rough life! 

Ok, either I am already tired or this is the cutest toothpaste ever! 

They have a bunch of these kits in the bathroom, I am probably going to steal them all :). 

Ok, yeah, I am probably just tired. 8 hours down, 18 more to go...

I also just opened up what I though was a eye cover thing (you know, to take a nap), and ended up putting a set of house-slippers on my face. 

Perhaps I am a bit more tired than I thought???

Looks like it is time for another meal, not a bad flight so far. Only a few babies crying but most of them have been quite well behaved. 

Not sure what meal of the day this is, but they have Big Island Candies. Nice to see something from home :)

Total travel time: 11:30
Caffeinated beverages: 5 - 3 cups of coffee and two green teas.
Restroom Sink Baths: 2

Looks like we are just about to touch down in Narita. I am getting to the point now of being a bit loopy. I was just trying to calculate the amount of time it had been since this trip started today, and I had trouble figuring out the time differences. 

I just am hitting the 13:30 mark on the trip, so just over halfway. This seems like a good point to cut off this blog post.

Things I have learned:
I love to steal single use items. I now have taken about six toothbrush sets, one unused blanket, a pair of slippers (see earlier post) and some small single use towels. 
I am actually contemplating taking more when no one is looking. 
I love flying JAL, the service is amazing.
I also am at the tired point of not remembering the earlier things in this post. 

Fun stuff...

Off to get more toothbrushes... 

So tempting...

In-flight wifi?!?

Perhaps I just have not gotten out much, but they now have in-flight wifi! This is awesome. 

Granted, there is probably not much that I can or want to do while flying, but hey, it is still a pretty cool feature. 

There are a ton of bells and whistles to this aircraft, in-flight wifi, free seatback entertainment, maps and crap like that to  watch your flight slowly inch towards a destination. 

Somehow Tokyo is to the right of Honolulu. Granted, on a spherical earth this is quite accruate, as it would be in any direction from Honolulu, but I am hoping we decided to head left as it is a much faster route. I guess with only 7:11 left, we must be taking the westbound route. 

The really funny thing, is with all these choices of in flight entertainment, I am having trouble choosing what to do. 

If anyone is bored, feel free to message me on Facebook or line. I have 24 hours of JAL wifi and I am going to use every last penny I spent. 

The funny thing is that this wifi is faster and more reliable so far than the school I worked for previously. Sorry, had to say it. My flying tin can has more stable wifi. Win for JAL.

Well, with all this technology, it is time to settle in to my book. $18 well spent, plus about $8 for my book. All in all, should be an ok flight. 

Hard to put down the book on a Tyrion chapter...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ten Years Later - Still an Idiot

Well, Big Island, I guess it is time for me to break up with you.  

I hate to admit this, but this is my first time that I have both broken up via the internet, and also with an island.  

Not sure which is more disturbing.  

I have had a great time living here, met some amazing people, and really felt that I have come full circle on this part of my adventure. I started here with college at UH Hilo in 2004, moved to Oahu to do my Master's Degree in 2008, then back here in 2010.  After five years of working at an awesome school with a great group of people, it is time for me, (now us), to move on.  

I started my journey here as an idiot 18 year old, and am now moving as an idiot 29 year old.  Times change, people do not. 

Summery of achievements:

  • College
  • Grad School
  • Relationships
  • Break-ups
  • Marriage
  • Earthquakes
  • Tsunamis
  • Hurricane
  • Lava Flow
  • Hospital Trips
  • Car Wrecks
  • Falling from Cliffs
  • Near Drowning
  • Dog Ownership
  • Lightning Strike
This is only what I can think of while sipping coffee at Starbucks in Safeway.  

I am sure there is a lot more.  

Needless to say, I am still the same idiot that moved here, just a bit older, a bit wiser, but still just as stupid.  Guess you can grow older but still not grow up.  

I surfed through Facebook looking for photos that really stood out and summarized my last decade here in Hawaii.  If anyone else has some roasting material, feel free to email me and I will add it.  No holds barred.